Alice in legoland
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Alice in Legoland. Team Leader: Denise McBroom Team Members: Laura Guilfoyle, Shirley Hall, Peter Mlot, Theresa Hopkins, Nellie Matlock.

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Alice in legoland

Alice in Legoland

Team Leader: Denise McBroom

Team Members: Laura Guilfoyle, Shirley Hall, Peter Mlot,

Theresa Hopkins, Nellie Matlock

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. EEC-0502174. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Engineering design
Engineering Design

  • The existing module addresses engineering by linking it to the process of designing a computer program.

  • Specific questions relating to computer programming are included in the pre-test and post-test.

  • The Concept Quiz includes matching relevant programming terms to their definitions to assess the students’ knowledge of computer programming.

  • The Programming Pioneer activity encourages students to research famous computer engineers and learn more about engineering through these role models.

Scientific inquiry
Scientific Inquiry

  • There are ample opportunities for inquiry/discovery activities in the experiments with Legos and with the Alice computer software program.

  • In the first activity, students must work together to decode instructions to create a specific figure with Legos.

  • In the second activity, students are asked to create their own Lego figure and then create the programming code.

  • In the Alice computer software program, students discover the importance of sequencing and the possibility of obtaining different results by changing the programming code.


  • There are questions concerning ethics, as it relates to computer programming, in the pretest.

  • Ethics is also addressed in the discussion questions. For example, “What would happen if Alice was sold to the public, or any other computer program, without being tested first?”

  • This discussion gives an opportunity to discuss a variety of ethics issues, including “bugging”.

Adaptation to primary grades
Adaptation to Primary Grades

  • The Alice computer software program would need to be modified, using pictorial instructions as well as written instructions, for it to be suitable for the lower primary grades. A modification of Alice would be the program Kidpix.

  • The Legos instructions would need to be made simpler, to indicate directions rather than x and y coordinates, for the primary grades.

    3. The Legos could also be used for symbolic representation of verbal commands to show sequencing, even in kindergarden. Also, snap cubes could be used to represent Legos or 1x1 binary codes which would be easier to manipulate for children in the primary grades. Snap cubes are inexpensive as well.

Resource list
Resource List

  • New Way Things Work by Daniel Macaduley and Neil Ardley

  • Magic School Bus, Program A: Book About Computers, by Nancy White

  • What is a Scientist, by Barbara Lehn

  • Computer Graphic and Animation by Asha Kalbag

  • Learning Computer Programming, CyberRookies Series by Mary Farrell

Adaptation to high school
Adaptation to High School

  • The module could be used as in introduction to basic computer programming at the high school level.

  • After working with the Alice program, students could develop their own interactive 3-D computer program to accompany a story of their choosing.

  • There could be more in-depth discussions and debates on ethics in computer technology.

Module enhancement
Module Enhancement

  • Lists of more books, Internet and computer software resources would be helpful on the topics introduced in the module, categorized by grade level.

  • Develop teachers’ notes, including more detailed assessment tools and rubrics for the module.

  • Emphasize the cross-curriculum links in the module to art, language arts, social studies, math and science.